Phaethon and How the Deserts Were Formed

By: Lindsey Bennett, Paul Chrzanowski, and Zach Seprish
 Phaethon was the son of the god of the sun, Helios, and his
wife Clymene
 Translated, Phaethon means “Shining”
Phaethon’s father, Helios, was the god of the sun. But,
Phaethon did not know of his father’s role until he
reached a certain age.
When Phaethon learned who and
what his father was, he decided to
go to meet Helios. Phaethon was
awed by his father’s power and
both were thrilled to meet each
In Phaethon’s excitement, he decided to ask his
father for a favor. Helios immediately agreed
before he even knew
what his son wanted.
Phaethon asked his
father to let him drive
the chariot that Helios
used to pull the sun across
the sky.
Helios was reluctant to grant his son’s favor,
but having already agreed,
he had to comply.
Helios handed his son the
reigns and
Phaethon happily jumped
into the chariot.
Once inside the chariot and ready to drive, Phaethon
quickly lost control of the immortal steeds that
pulled it. The chariot veered out of control
dragging Phaethon along the sky helplessly,
leaving a trail of destruction behind it.
The crazy ride continued, and as Phaethon and the
chariot got too close to the earth, the very ground
burned. The region where the chariot burned the
ground is today known as the Sahara Desert in
The god Zeus quickly realized the danger of this
situation. He then hurled a thunderbolt at
Phaethon, killing him instantly.
Phaethon’s body landed near the Eridanos River
where his sisters mourned his death and
eventually formed into poplar trees on it’s bank.
 Atsma, Aaron J. “Phaethon.” Theoi. 2008. 28 Feb. 2009
 “Phaethon in Myth.” Loggia. 2007. 25 Feb. 2009
 “Phaeton.” In 2 Greece. 26 Feb. 2009

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